06 May 2019

Your weekly digest of policy news, funding competitions, and calls for evidence.

What’s been in the news?

Workforce training vital to prepare for future markets, say OECD

Emerging technologies, globalisation and an ageing population are the key trends influencing our future workforce, underpinned by policies that support upskilling, says a new OECD report. Digital industries are on the rise, while primary industries, such as mining and high-emissions industries in manufacturing are declining, say OECD in their annual Employment Outlook Report.

The report addresses concerns from the general workforce regarding job security and automation. ‘While it is true that workers are displaced by new technologies, there are various channels through which technology may actually boost employment and, historically, net changes in employment have been positive in the long run,’ OECD writes. In fact, OECD research has found that 40% of jobs created between 2005 and 2016 were in digitally intensive sectors, and, despite widespread anxiety from the public around jobs and automation, only 14% of jobs are at risk from automation, while 32% of jobs could be radically transformed.

Read the full article here.


UKRI announce consultation for Open Access Review

A consultation on UKRI’s Open Access Review will welcome views from across the publishing sector and academia. The Open Access Review covers open access to formal scholarly research articles, peer reviewed conference proceedings and monographs, and aims to make the findings of publicly-funded research freely available to all upon publication. Set in four phases, the Review started in Autumn 2018 and will run until Spring 2020. The consultation, which is to be launched in autumn 2019, will include UKRI’s draft policy.

The open access policy for the next REF will be built on evidence supplied from the consultation, and REF2021 will not be affected by its conclusions, with changes not likely coming into effect until 1 January 2021. UKRI’s Review is being carried out in conjunction with Plan S – the international initiative launched in September 2018, that aims for all state-funded research organisation and institutions to publish their works openly in journals by 2020.


UK can meet climate change targets by 2050, says report

A new report from the Committee on Climate Change has said that the UK could end its contribution to global warming by 2050 with new greenhouse gas emissions goals, in a new recommended target. The target will deliver on the commitment made by the UK when it signed the Paris Agreement in 2016, that states that all signatories must act to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5⁰C.
Other key findings of the report are:

  • Scotland’s net-zero date should be set to 2045 and Wales should meet 95% of greenhouse targets by 2050 due to their respective capacities to remove emissions compared to the whole of the UK
  • The foundations are in place throughout the UK to deliver the key pillars of a net-zero economy, while policies will have to ramp up significantly for a ‘net-zero’ emissions target to be credible
  • The overall costs of the transition to a net-zero economy are manageable but they must be fairly distributed

‘We can all see that the climate is changing, and it needs a serious response. The great news is that it is not only possible for the UK to play its full part – we explain how in our new report – but it can be done within the cost envelope that Parliament has already accepted,’ said Lord Deben, Chair of the CCC. ‘The government should accept the recommendations and set about making the changes needed to deliver them without delay.’

Calls for evidence

Deadline: 12 May 2019

Deadline: 13 May 2019

Deadline: 31 May 2019

  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee: Draft National Policy Statement for Water Resources Infrastructure inquiry

Deadline: Open – accepting written submissions

  • Science & Technology Committee: Technologies for meeting Clean Growth emissions reduction targets inquiry

Deadline: Open – accepting written submissions

For Parliamentary Calls for Evidence please see the Parliament Committee page.

Funding competitions

Deadline: 29 May 2019

Up to £3m is available from the Global Challenges Research Fund for UK businesses and research organisations working on agri-tech and food chain innovations with eligible African partners.

Deadline: 5 June 2019

The UK and South Korea have announced a joint funding competition for up to £1m for R&D projects under the EUREKA programme.  

Deadline: 3 July 2019

UK-based SMEs can apply for a share of £1.5m to develop innovative medical devices, diagnostics and regulated digital technology to evaluate their product in a real-world clinical setting.

Deadline: 10 July 2019

Up to £25m of collaborative match funding is available to support late-stage R&D in advanced low carbon propulsion capability in the automotive sector.

Deadline: 15 July 2019

A £2m pool of funding is available to UK businesses developing photonic technologies in partnership with organisations from EUREKA countries.

Deadline: 24 July 2019

A share of £25m is available to deliver ambitious or disruptive R&D innovations with significant potential for impact on the UK economy.

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